OU, AT&T and The Weather Channel Collaborate to Transmit Potentially Life-Saving Information during Severe Weather

The University of Oklahoma, AT&T and The Weather Channel have collaborated to equip several of OU’s Advanced Radar Research Center’s mobile research trucks with enhanced severe weather technology. These enhanced trucks will soon have cameras capable of streaming live video and near real-time radar data during severe weather events.

Storm data and video provide meteorologists with better observations, analysis and forecasting capabilities. Live video and near real-time data can also improve prediction systems, warning times and potentially lessen loss of life and property.

One radar to be utilized includes OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies SMART radar.

OU School of Meteorology PhD student Addison Alford said he’s been using the SMART radar for nearly five years.

“The capability that AT&T has provided us will be second to none,” Alford said about streaming capabilities made to the truck. “Before we were using smart phones and hot spots. AT&T has provided a better quality device that will give us the possibility of providing and using data faster.”

Faster streaming means saving lives and keeping the general public safer.

“We don’t just utilize our own observations but we use National Weather Service data, ground measurements and we always want access to those sources so we can better position ourselves during a storm,” Alford said. “The capability to stream faster allows us better access. In an area of where there is not great radar coverage – this partnership makes getting information to people quicker and better.”


OU School of Meteorology PhD student Addison Alford talks to OKC Fox 25 News about OU CIMMS SMART radar.

OU’s Advanced Radar Research Center is the largest academic radar program in the nation. It is home to a fleet of mobile research vehicles with radar systems that can analyze severe storms of all types, from any location in the country. In coordination with the OU CIMMS, ARRC operates the radars.

“The University of Oklahoma is world-renown for its leadership in the fields of radar and severe weather research,” said Berrien Moore, OU vice president for Weather and Climate Programs, dean of the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, and director of the National Weather Center. “We are constantly working to improve and enhance our ability to increase lead time and accuracy in forecasting for hazardous weather events. The near real-time video and data transmission capabilities with this project align perfectly with this mission.”

OU School of Meteorology PhD student Addison Alford talks with NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory Director Steve Koch about the collaboration with AT&T and its impact on OU CIMMS SMART radar.

The AT&T network enables the trucks to send data back to the Advanced Radar Research Center in near real-time – even where radar coverage is limited. The Weather Channel will make airtime and live interview opportunities available for field researchers. The public will gain more knowledge of severe storm research.

“Severe weather is always top of mind here in Oklahoma, especially this time of year,” said Steve Hahn, president of AT&T Oklahoma. “We’re excited to work with OU and The Weather Channel to stay ahead of storms and help protect people.”

OU and AT&T maintain a long-standing relationship and have collaborated on several exciting technology-based projects that include: the One University Store, demonstrating AT&T technologies that support the University’s Digital Initiative, providing an enhanced fan experience with Wi-Fi at The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, and the migration of OU’s voice communication services to an IP-based network.

“The Weather Channel is excited to collaborate with the University of Oklahoma and AT&T on this initiative.  Being able to incorporate video technology into OU’s research capabilities allows us to provide our viewers with the most accurate near real-time weather information,” said David Clark, president of The Weather Channel. “With state-of-the-art technology, we’re able to further our efficiency and ability to transmit important, life-saving information to our audience nationally.”

The OU, AT&T and The Weather Channel project offers many benefits. Some include:

  • Sending near real-time data from the field to the National Weather Center and forecasters nationwide.
  • Live streaming of video during severe storms.
  • Better severe weather alerts and warnings for residents.
  • More understanding of severe storms.
  • Ability to broadcast potentially life-saving information nationally.

Data will start streaming live on The Weather Channel at 6 p.m. CT on April 21, 2017.